Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Essential is being sued for its wireless accessory connector

Essential’s accessory connector is an interesting one. It uses two physical power pins and wireless data transfer. Unfortunately, a previous potential partner is suing the company over that wireless data transfer tech.

Essential was in talks with Keyssa (backed by Tony Fadell, an ex-Google employee just like Andy Rubin) over its wireless data transfer technology for 10 months but an agreement was never reached. The company ended up going with SiBEAM for the wireless accessory connector, but Keyssa alleges that Essential used techniques that it developed to build the connector.

Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but it’s yet another challenge that Essential is facing. The launch of the Essential Phone was a bumpy ride and issue after issue has popped up. Hopefully this blows over smoothly.

source: androidandme
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WhatsApp announces encrypted location sharing

Sharing one’s location is definitely not hard these days, as it’s a feature that is built into most services in some way or another.

Now WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging platforms out there, is announcing its own effort in the location sharing game. Today the company officially announced a brand new way to share your “live location,” effectively giving real-time location info to those you want to share it with.

It works about the same way it does in any other messaging service. You open a chat with the person you want to share your location with — the feature also supports groups, too — and from there, you open the “Location” option within the attach section and click the new “Share Live Location.” You will get to pick how long you share your location with the people in the chat. So if you just want to let them know where you are for a half hour, you’ll be able to do that.

Once the timer runs out, the app will stop sharing your location automatically. And if you want to stop sharing sooner, you can end it at any time. What’s more, this location sharing in real-time is end-to-end encrypted.

According to WhatsApp, this new feature will be available for both the Android and iOS apps, and it will begin rolling out to users in the coming weeks. So if this is something you’ll want to use, keep an eye out for it.

source: androidandme
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You can now stream YouTube TV using your Google Home

The great thing about YouTube TV is that you can stream it from your phone to any cast-enabled device. There’s no need for an expensive, bulky set-top box with a terrible interface.  And now you’ll be able to do the same from your Google Home.

Google has announced that you can ask your Google Home to stream different shows or content with your voice. You’ll also be able to control it, including rewinding 15 seconds and enabling captions.

If you want to give it a shot, head to the Google Home app and link YouTube TV to it. And if you haven’t signed up for YouTube TV, Google is offering up a free $35 Chromecast to those who do.

source: androidandme
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Google Calendar on the web adds Material Design and new features

For users of Google Calendar, especially enterprise users, there is a new update for the web client that not only updates the aesthetics but also brings in new features.

Today Google announced several changes and tweaks to Google Calendar on the web. First and foremost, the service is getting a major design overhaul, finally adopting Google’s Material Design aesthetic. It should help users navigate easier and get things done even faster while adding a responsive design that adjusts automatically to screen size.

The majority of the new features are geared towards enterprise users. Specifically, some changes can be implemented by G Suite administrators. That includes the ability to input specific information about a conference room where an upcoming meeting is going to be held. Admins will be able to show how big the room is, where it is located, whether or not it’s wheelchair accessible, and much more. Users can hover their mouse over the calendar event and see the pertinent information.

Calendar links can now support hyperlinks and rich formatting, which can help create more detailed agendas. And finally, there is a new “Day” view which will make it easier to manage multiple calendars much faster.

These new updates, along with the adoption of Material Design, are rolling out today. G Suite Admins will be able to roll out the changes beginning today. As for casual users of Google Calendar on the web, if you want to adopt the new changes you’ll need to click the “Use new Calendar” option at the top-right of the main calendar view to load up the new features and look.

How often do you use Google Calendar on the web?

source: androidandme
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Google announces Pixel Visual Core co-processor for better HDR+ photos

The camera in a smartphone is one of its most important features, and Google is not messing around with the camera in its Pixel smartphone lineup.

That began with the original models last year and the trend continues with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which will officially go on sale this Friday, October 19. When owners start getting their hands on the new flagships, they’ll see even better HDR+ photos from the built-in camera. And Google is making that possible with machine learning, the hardware itself, and the software. But it also developed its own co-processor to help with the task.

Google today officially unveiled its custom Pixel Visual Core co-processor. The SoC is designed to help off-load some of the work needed to create such amazing pictures taken with the newest Pixel smartphones. With it, Google can get more power-efficient HDR+ processing while at the same time handling the most challenging of image rendering and processes tied to machine learning.

The Pixel Visual Core is built into every single Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL unit. But this is Google we’re talking about, so just getting the best possible images out of the built-in camera isn’t good enough. The Pixel Visual Core co-processor will be turned on through a software update along with the public launch of Android 8.1 Oreo and will allow third-party applications to take advantage of the better HDR+ photos.


You can see the results in the image just above. On the left, the image was snapped with a third-party camera app on the Pixel 2. Meanwhile, on the right is a photo snapped with the Pixel 2 using the Pixel Visual Core. The difference is pretty stunning.

As mentioned above, the Pixel Visual Core isn’t active just yet. It will go live with the upcoming Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview, which will launch in the coming weeks. Google will let it loose for all Pixel 2 owners with third-party apps through the stock camera API.

The camera in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are already getting praised quite a bit in initial reviews for both devices, so knowing that it will get even better in the coming weeks is pretty exciting for owners of the new flagships.

Did you pre-order the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL?

source: androidandme
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ZTE Axon M has two displays and costs $725 on AT&T

Back in September, the ZTE Axon M first surfaced along with a report detailing a foldable smartphone that would boast two full displays.

That device is now officially official. ZTE has announced the Axon M, which does indeed feature a foldable design and two screens. Those displays each measure in at 5.2 inches, they both have a resolution 1080p HD display, and they boast Corning Gorilla Glass 5. When the Axon M is unfolded, the displays will measure 6.75 inches diagonally.

ZTE is doing what it can to take advantage of the dual displays. There is a Dual Mode that will let owners use two different apps on each display at the same time. The Extended Mode will stretch the UI across both screens, which means you can use both displays in tandem to do stuff like play games and watch content. There is even a Mirror Mode, which means you can mirror what’s happening on one display to the next.

As for the rest of the device, the Axon M has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor under the hood, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of built-in storage. There is a microSD card reader for expandable storage if needed. There’s a single 20-megapixel camera, and the battery measures in at 3180mAh. ZTE is including Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box, but the company is planning on rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo at some point in the future.

AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the Axon M. Subscribers will be able to pay $24.17 per month for 30 months when it goes up for sale.

Who’s picking one up?

source: androidandme
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OnePlus 3 and 3T receive Android 8.0 Oreo as part of Open Beta update

OnePlus has said before that it plans to release Android Oreo for the OnePlus 3 and 3T, and now owners of those devices can get an early taste of that update.

The OxygenOS Open Beta based on Android 8.0 Oreo is now available for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. Specifically, OnePlus 3 owners are getting Open Beta 25, while OnePlus 3T owners are getting Open Beta 16

As for what’s included in this update, here’s the changelog from OnePlus:

System changes
Update to Android O (8.0)

  • Added Picture in Picture
  • Added Auto-fill
  • Added Smart text selection
  • New Quick Settings design
  • September security patch

Launcher changes

  • Added Notification dots in Launcher
  • Added OnePlus account login for access to Shot on OnePlus
  • Now able to upload photos directly to Shot on OnePlus through wallpapers

Known issues:

  • Fingerprint actions may be slower than you are used to.
  • Shortcut to access Google Photos is unavailable
  • Some stability issues with NFC and bluetooth 
  • Performance and compatibility of 3rd party apps will continue to be optimized

If you decide to load this beta onto your OnePlus 3 or 3T, keep in mind that it is a beta release and so there may be some bugs. In exchange for dealing with any bugs that might pop up, you get to taste Oreo before the general public.

If that sounds like something you’d like to do, then hit this link to get the downloads and instructions. If your phone is already enrolled in the Open Beta program, then you should get these latest updates over the air.

source: androidandme
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